Hot Topic: Prescription Drug Abuse

You may have seen a recent article in the Seattle P-I entitled, "Prescription pill deaths soar". It starts by stating:

More people are dying from prescription painkillers than ever before in a national epidemic that's eclipsing past drug scourges, including heroin overdoses in the '70s and crack cocaine deaths in the early '90s.

The trend, reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is more pronounced in Washington state, health officials said Thursday. Two years ago, local poisonings -- mostly drug overdoses -- surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of death by unintentional injury.

The main reason: a skyrocketing number of overdoses by prescription opioids.

Later in the story it states:

Sabel (Jennifer Sabel, an epidemiologist with the state Department of Health) said people need to lock up their medications, in light of a state survey that found that one in 10 teenagers had recently taken a painkiller to get high.

What can we do? Here are some resources:

CADCA's (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) guide "Strategies to Prevent Prescription Drug Abuse Among Teens in Your Community" provides communities with specific prevention ideas and examples.

Parents: The Anti-Drug website has information about teen prescription drug use and how to prevent it.

In January, the Office of National Drug Control Policy released "A Report on the Troubling Trend of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Among the Nation's Teens".